Potassium and chronic kidney disease (CKD)

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1 Potassium and chronic kidney disease (CKD) Potassium is a mineral which helps your nerves and muscles work well. Normally, healthy kidneys will keep the right amount of potassium in your body. If your kidneys are not working well, the potassium level in your blood can be too high or too low. This can affect your heartbeat. A very high or low level of potassium is DANGEROUS, as it can cause your heart to stop beating. Most of the potassium comes from the foods and beverages we consume. Almost all foods have potassium, but some have much more than others. The amount of potassium your body can tolerate depends on several factors: your body size, the medications you are taking, how well your kidneys are functioning and, if you are on dialysis, how well your dialysis treatments are working. People with CKD Some people in the early stages of CKD do not need to limit their potassium intake, while others may need to restrict it. There is no benefit to restricting potassium unless your blood levels are high. If you need to restrict potassium, your registered dietitian and/or doctor will tell you how much potassium you should have each day to keep your blood levels in the healthy range. Important: If you are on hemodialysis, you may need to limit your potassium intake to avoid too much buildup between treatments. With peritoneal dialysis, you may be able to enjoy a variety of higher potassium foods, but check with your registered dietitian and/or doctor to be sure. What is a safe level of potassium in my blood? Normal blood potassium levels for adults are 3.5 to 5.0 mmol/l. The goal is less than 5.0 if you are on peritoneal dialysis, and less than 5.5 if you are on hemodialysis. How can I keep my potassium level from getting too high? Different foods have very different potassium contents. You may need to limit or avoid foods that are high in potassium. Your Registered Dietitian will help you make an eating plan that gives you the right amount of potassium. Serving size matters. Foods that contain a smaller amount of potassium may have a different serving size than foods with a higher amount of potassium. Example: Lychees contain a small amount of potassium, so a serving size equals 10 fruit. Mangoes have a much higher potassium content, so a serving size is limited to ½ fruit. The number of servings you have each day is important. Even low potassium foods can make your potassium level high if you are having too many of them. Speak with your Registered Dietitian about the number of servings that is right for you. Cooking methods can affect the potassium content in some foods. You can reduce the amount of potassium in root vegetables by boiling them in large amounts of water (directions provided on the page below). Other foods will shrink to a smaller serving size when cooked, but the potassium content remains the same. The Kidney Foundation of Canada Page 1 of 7 June 2013

2 Example: ½ cup of raw spinach will shrink to 1 tbsp when cooked. Eating ½ cup of cooked spinach will have a much higher potassium content than ½ cup of raw spinach. Do not use the liquid from canned, cooked or frozen fruits and vegetables. If you are on dialysis, be sure to complete all of your dialysis treatments. How to double boil vegetables Boiling vegetables twice is considered the best way to remove the most potassium from root vegetables such as potatoes and sweet potatoes. This process does not turn potatoes into a low potassium food. It does allow you to include these foods safely into your diet, in moderation. 1. Wash and peel the vegetable. 2. Dice or thinly slice the vegetable. 3. Place the vegetable in room temperature water. Use two times the amount of water to the amount of vegetable. 4. Bring the water to a boil. 5. Drain off the water and add fresh, room temperature water. Use two times the amount of water to the amount of vegetable. 6. Bring the water to a boil again and cook until the vegetable is soft and tender. 7. Drain and discard the boiling water. What foods can I eat to manage potassium in my diet? The food lists on the following pages can help you choose the right foods and avoid those that are high in potassium. They are a guide and do not replace the advice of a health care professional. If you are unsure about a particular food, please ask your Registered Dietitian. All foods are listed in alphabetical order. The Kidney Foundation of Canada Page 2 of 7 June 2013

3 Potassium guidelines for choosing foods Choose Avoid Juices and Nectars (1 serving is equal to 1/2 cup and must be included as part of your fruit servings) Apple Juice Lemon Juice Carrot Juice Pomegranate Juice Apricot Nectar Lime Juice Clamato Juice Prune Juice Blackberry Juice Papaya Nectar Coconut Juice Tangerine Juice Cranberry Juice Peach Nectar Coconut Water Tomato Juice Grape Juice Pear Nectar Grapefruit Juice* V8 Juice, regular Guava Nectar Pineapple Juice Orange Juice V8 Juice, low sodium Passionfruit Juice Vegetable Juice *Potential Drug Interaction - Speak to your Pharmacist or Registered Dietitian The Kidney Foundation of Canada Page 3 of 7 June 2013

4 Potassium guidelines for choosing foods Choose Avoid Avoid Fruits Limit your fruits to 3 servings per day or as recommended by your Registered Dietitian (1 serving is equal to 1/2 cup unless otherwise noted) Apple (1) Lemon (1) Apricots Medjool Date(2) Apple rings (5) Lime (2) Banana Nectarine Applesauce Loganberries Breadfruit Orange (large) Blackberries Lychees (10) Cantaloupe Papaya Blueberries Mandarin orange Coconut (dried) Passion fruit Boysenberries Mango (½) Coconut (raw) Persimmon Canned fruit, all types Peach (1) Dates Pomelo (½) Casaba melon Pear (1) Dried fruit, all types Prickly pear (1) Cherries (10) Pineapple Durian Raisins (1 box) Clementine (1) Plum (1) Elderberries Sapote Crab-apple Pomegranate ½ Figs Soursop Cranberries Prunes (2) Guava Sugar apple Currants Raspberries Honeydew melon Starfruit** Fruit cocktail Rhubarb Jackfruit, fresh Tamarind Gooseberries Sapodilla (½) Kiwi (1) Grapefruit*(½) Strawberries Grapes (20) Tangelo (1) Jackfruit, canned Tangerine (1) Kumquats (5) Watermelon *Potential Drug Interaction Speak to your Pharmacist or Registered Dietitian **Do NOT consume. Speak to your Registered Dietitian. Starfruit may also be called carambala, bilimbi, belimbing, Chinese starfruit or star apple The Kidney Foundation of Canada Page 4 of 7 June 2013

5 Choose Potassium guidelines for choosing foods Avoid Vegetables Limit your vegetables to 3 servings per day or as recommended by your Registered Dietitian (1 serving is 1/2 cup unless otherwise noted) Alfalfa sprouts Fiddlehead greens, boiled Acorn squash Arugula, raw (1 cup) Kale Artichoke Mushrooms - Dried - Portabella Asparagus (6) Leeks Avocado (½) Parsnips Bamboo shoots, canned Lettuce (1 cup) Baked beans Plantain Beans, green Bean sprouts Beet greens, raw Mushrooms - Canned, drained - Shitake, raw - White, raw Beans - Adzuki - Navy - Black - Pinto - Kidney - Red - Lima - Roman - Mung - White Potato*** Potato chips Rapini, cooked Broadbeans, fresh/boiled Mustard greens Bamboo shoots, fresh Rutabaga Broccoli Okra Beets Snow peas, cooked Cabbage Onion, all types Bok choy Soybeans Carrots, baby (8) Peas, green Broadbeans, canned Spinach, cooked Carrot, regular Peppers Brussel sprouts (4) Split peas Cauliflower Radish Burdock root Succotash Celeriac, cooked Rapini, raw Butternut squash Sweet potatoes*** Celery (1 stalk) Snow peas (raw) (10) Cassava Swiss chard, cooked Chayote Spaghetti squash Celeriac, raw Taro, cooked Chicory greens (1 cup) Spinach, raw (1 cup) Chick peas Tempeh Collard greens Swiss chard, raw Cress, cooked Tomato paste (2 tbsp) Corn Tomato, cherry (5) Dock (sorrel) Tomato sauce (¼ cup) Cress, raw Tomato (½) French fries Water chestnuts, raw Cucumber Turnip Kohlrabi Yam*** Dandelion greens Turnip greens Lentils Zucchini, cooked Eggplant Watercress (raw) Lotus root Endive (1) Escarole Fennel Water Chestnuts, canned Wax Beans Zucchini, raw ***Double boil your potatoes to lower potassium The Kidney Foundation of Canada Page 5 of 7 June 2013

6 Potassium guidelines for choosing foods Choose 4-8 oz per day of fresh milk, homemade pudding, ice cream or yogurt Milk products Grains Avoid Chocolate milk, packaged or canned puddings Bread: any bread, bagels and rolls made with white flour; light rye or 60% whole wheat Cereal: any corn or rice-based cereals (ie. Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies ), Cream of Wheat, Cream of Rice, non-bran cereals Crackers: cream crackers, graham crackers, matzo cracker, soda crackers, taco/tortilla shell, tortilla chips (10), water crackers, white melba toast, white rice cake Rice/pasta: white rice, white pasta, white soba noodles Baked goods: arrowroot, angel food cake, blueberry muffins, oatmeal cookies, pound cake, shortbread, social teas (4), sponge cake, sugar cookies, vanilla wafers, white cake, yellow cake Other: cornmeal, couscous (1/3 cup), white flour Bread: any bread, bagels and rolls made with whole grain, 100% whole wheat or dark rye Cereal: bran or whole grain cereal, granola, shredded wheat, cereals containing dried fruit or nuts Crackers: any crackers made from whole wheat, grains or dark rye Rice/pasta: brown rice, whole wheat pasta Baked goods: danish, doughnuts, date square, fruitcake, gingerbread, gingersnap, granola bar, peanut butter cookie, or any baked good made from whole wheat/ grains, carrot or chocolate Other: barley, buckwheat, bulgur, nuts/seeds, pancake/waffle mix, wheat germ, whole wheat flour Additional items Herbs and spices, herb mixes Butter, margarine, oil, mayonnaise Sugar or sugar substitutes Honey, jam, jelly, pancake or corn syrup Regular or decaf coffee and tea Drink crystals, fruit punch, lemonade, Kool- Aid or soft drinks (non-colas) Salt substitutes (ie. No Salt, Nu Salt ) Salt-free cheese with potassium added Brown sugar, molasses, maple sugar or maple syrup Specialty coffee (cappuccino, espresso, Turkish), Cocoa or colas Chocolate (any type), carob The Kidney Foundation of Canada Page 6 of 7 June 2013

7 For information and tools to help you manage your kidney-friendly diet, visit All rights reserved. This material does not constitute medical advice and is intended for informational purposes only. No one associated with The Kidney Foundation of Canada will answer medical questions via . Please consult a healthcare professional for specific treatment recommendations. The Kidney Foundation of Canada Page 7 of 7 June 2013

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